keywords: Organic matter, soil minerals, soil nutrients, termites.
Although, termite activities are traditionally believed to pose negative impact on agroecosystem and forestry resources, studies have shown that their nests are rich in nutrients and may be a potential source of soil enrichment. We assessed the impact of two termitaria on the qualities of their surrounding soils. Termitarium samples and samples of soil taken from increasing distances from the termitaria were assessed for relative physicochemical and microbial qualities, using standard procedures. Water holding capacity increased significantly (p<0.01) with distance from the termitaria. Conversely, bulk density decreased significantly (p<0.01) with distance from the termitaria. Moisture, pH and electrical conductivity were significantly higher (p<0.01) in soil at one metre from the termitaria. Soil at two metres from the termitaria had the least and significant (p<0.01) pH and electrical conductivity of 7.036±0.17 and 526.22±218.02 mS/cm, respectively. Total organic carbon was higher in the surrounding soil, relative to termitarium soil. Soil at one meter from the termitaria had significantly higher (p<0.05) chloride, total organic carbon and magnesium of 49.61±11.02 mg/kg, 0.59±0.20 % and 84.90±9.70 mg/kg, respectively. Termitarium soil had significantly lower (p<0.05) total bacteria (119.33±33.75 × 10 CFU/g) and total fungi (34.11±4.63 × 10 CFU/g), than the surrounding soil. Total actinomycetes count was higher in termitarium soil than surrounding soil. The improved physicochemical and nutrient qualities of surrounding soil must have resulted from deposition of soil materials from the termitaria. However, we recommend further studies to establish the long-term effects of termitaria on the surrounding plant and animal biodiversity.